KNOW Filmmaking Workshop by Still Motion


Last Sunday I had the opportunity to attend the KNOW filmmaking workshop ( put on by Still Motion (, a boutique production company based out of Canada. They’re making a tour around the US and Canada to help teach the masses and to promote their new book, KNOW: Field Guide to Filmmaking. It was a pretty full and long day. They covered everything you need to know in order to make a video. They talked about, cameras, lighting, audio, editing, and, perhaps most importantly, story.

Still Motion started out as a wedding videography company, but has slowly started delving into other areas as well. Their first feature-length documentary, “A Game of Honor,” made for Showtime, follows the Army and Navy football teams, all leading up to the final game; and was nominated for 8 Emmy awards, including Outstanding Sports Documentary and Outstanding Camera Work.

For anyone with more than 6 months of production experience, the KNOW workshop may have been a little too basic. I know it was for me. But, there was still a lot of great info to come out of it; and I even picked up a few things. I love the direction they took the workshop and the mantra they live by, “how’s it work for the story.” Yea, sure, they went over the technical aspects of camera operation, various lighting setups, and how to record audio; but, they focused everything into making us think about how our choices effect story. Most people (basically everyone except Michael Bay and James Cameron) will probably tell you that story is everything. And that was the focus of KNOW. Choosing a lens… How does it impact the emotion of the scene? Setting up lights… What does that tell us about your characters? Every choice you make in production will ultimately effect your story. They drove this fact home, and I’m glad for it.

The technical aspects of cameras, and lights, and audio, and editing were pretty standard; and I didn’t grab a ton of new information from it. But, the people sitting near got a whole hell-of-a-lot from it. So, for people just getting into video, it makes sense that it was just the beginnings of how to shoot.

*event photos from Dave Dugdale. Learning DSLR Video.

The Giveaways

The main reason they’re on tour is to promote their book, KNOW: Field Guide to Filmmaking. And what a book it is. While the workshop may have been pretty basic, the field guide is not. It gets super in-depth into every aspect of how to make a great looking product that tells a compelling story. They use examples from their past work to highlight the points their making. It’s written clearly, and filmmakers of all levels can understand and use it.



They also gave out the KNOW MIX cd. One of Still Motion’s side project companies is With Etiquette ( “Art brings people together. It’s why you’re here. It’s why we’re here. Let’s collaborate to make something meaningful.” With Etiquette is basically a music label with the intent on licensing music for use in video. The mix is pretty good. And seeing as they’re all about the collaborative effort, I’ll probably use W.E. at least once or twice.


Perhaps the most useful thing to come out of the day is SMAPP, Still Motion’s app that aids in helping you make the right choices while in the field. Once again, it’s easy to understand and has some awesome tools that novice and beginning filmmakers will be able to use a lot. I think my favorite part of the app is the “Lens Selection Tool.” You input how you want the scene to look and feel, and the app will tell you which lens will give you the best results. Pretty awesome, but experienced filmmakers may find it a bit rudimentary.


Overall, the day was good. I met some cool people. Got to touch some gear (which is always on my to-do list). And I pulled a few things out of the workshop that made it worthwhile. Plus, I got another blog post out of it, and I can’t complain about that. Anyone who is just starting out in the industry should take a look at the field guide and download SMAPP, they’ll both be useful to new shooters. And, everyone should check out some of Still Motion’s work. It’s pretty damned good.

Here’s the trailer from “A Gamer of Honor” if anyone’s interested:

A Game of Honor | trailer for the feature doc from stillmotion on Vimeo.


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